Didi van Trijp
Didi van Trijp is a PhD candidate at the Centre for the Arts in Society.
Fields of interest
My research is concerned with the study of things living under water –be it oceans, seas, rivers or streams– in eighteenth-century Europe. I look into the textual, visual and material cultures of natural history, as well as collecting practices and classification schemes. On a more general level, I am interested in how different branches of knowledge (i.e. art, or science) are conceived and evaluated in the early modern period.
The study of fish and other aquatic creatures (ichthyology) occupied a place of esteem within early modern study of nature and many ‘fish books’ were written from the fifteenth century onwards. This project, which is part of the larger NWO-funded project ‘A New History of Fishes: A Long-term Approach to Fishes in Science and Culture, 1550-1880’, focuses on the development of ichthyology as a scientific discipline between the late seventeenth and early nineteenth century. The French naturalist Georges Cuvier distinguished in 1828 several phases in the shaping of ichthyology as a field of expert knowledge. The beginnings of this professionalization lay, he stated, in the methodological approach of Francis Willughby and John Ray. This phase was followed by Carl Linnaeus’ classification system. Another phase is marked by the precise and colorful illustration policies of Marcus Elieser Bloch. Lastly, the works of Buffon and Lacépède display distinct descriptive rhetoric. This PhD project reflects on these phases and includes assessment of Cuvier himself, who regarded his own ichthyological work as the logical conclusion of the developments he described. Furthermore, this project recognizes the societal context in which these naturalists produced their works, thus paying attention to matters of patronage, institutionalization and networks of knowledge.
Didi van Trijp studied History at Utrecht University from 2010-2013, and was a visiting student at the University of California, Berkeley as part of that program. She obtained her MSc in History and Philosophy of Science (cum laude) from Utrecht University in 2015. During this program she attended the Max Planck Institute for History of Science in Berlin assisting a digital project on knowledge accumulation. She also worked as a manuscript assistant at Isis, the Journal of the History of Science Society during a part of her studies.
Coordinating and teaching key module Things to do With Texts for Humanities Lab (2016-2017)
Grants & Awards
Elsevier/Johan de Witt Thesis Award 2015